While meandering in the rockery area at ANBG this afternoon, suitably
strung with binoculars, I was approached by a charming, excited lady toting
binoculars and clutching a Pizzey & Knight.
"Excuse me, suh, you are a birdwatcher? Right?" I answered in the
"Look, Ah just seen a male Scarlet Honeyeater up yonder. You wanna come
look? " I didn't need a second invite. 'Up yonder' was just across the
road, up hill from the rockery. I neglected to note the section number, too
busily engaged in conversation with this charming auburn-haired lady whose name
was Jemima and hailed from Mobile, Alabama. I told her Scarlet Honeyeaters were
rare in Canberra.
"Oh, absolutely! But Ah really been swatting up on Australian birds of
late, preparatory to mah trip down to Oz. And, sure as God made little green
apples, it wuz a male Scarlet Honeyeater, it wuz!" Anyhow, we hunted about for
ten minutes, but no luck. Then Jemima needed to hurry off to the visitors centre
because she wanted to catch the afternoon guided tour.
As we walked back through the rockery, we happened upon a pair of Bassian
Thrush scratching about. "Bassian Thrushes! Right? Right?", Jemima
"That's them, sure as God made little green apples," I said, sporting my
best southern American drawl. Miss Jemima laughed so loudly the thrush decamped.
Judging by her quick identification of the BTs, I believe this sweet southern
belle was no ding-dong when it came to the ID of Aussie birds.
Drat that stupid guided tour! I would have liked to 'go look' some more
with Miss Alabama. Went back and searched, but no Scarlet Honeyeater. Went to
the cafe for coffee, hoping Miss Mobile would be there. But no. Went back and
searched again, hoping to sight the Scarlet Honeyeater or, better still, Scarlet
O'Hara. But no. Drat! Drat! Drat!
Frustrated Birdwatcher of Holt.